Alternative college is bursting at seams

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A sixth form annexe set up to provide teenagers with an alternative learning environment has become so popular it needs larger premises to cope with demand.

Since joining forces with Carr Hill High School and Sixth Form Centre four years ago, the CSV Learning Centre in Preston has helped hundreds of young people gain experience and qualifications.

The campus, in St Wilfrid Street, offers courses in media-based subjects such as film studies, film production, music technology and beauty in a non-traditional classroom environment, which includes sofas and pool tables among computers and work stations.

Students are given tasks and encouraged to learn by doing the things they enjoy, achieving course objectives and practical skills in their area of interest.

With nine members of staff, including six tutors, and around 60 students currently enrolled at CSV, bosses are now looking for bigger premises which includes setting up a business centre to enable students to establish and manage their own businesses.

Paul Wallace, head of sixth form, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity as the expansion will mean we can offer further opportunities for Carr Hill students and students from other local education institutions.”

Steve Egan, CSV regional development manager, said: “I was never one for sitting in a classroom, I wanted to learn by doing.

“Looking back, practical and vocational training options would have been perfect for me, as I would have been able to gain qualifications in an environment that engaged me. I understand the importance, for some young people, of practical learning in addition to academic studies.”

CSV recently set up a shop to sell items made by the students to show them how to market what they have to offer, teaching them about the economy and employment.